resume crumpled in cyan background with reflection and shadow

The resumé is not a terrific way to identify great talent. There are other, far more creative, methods that more forward-thinking companies can use to help them staff up with the best. Recently, we asked readers of PROFIT and Canadian Business to share some of your experiences with more creative hiring. Here are our favourite responses:

Make candidates get creative

“Last year, I was hiring a business development person. Instead of asking for resumés, I put up a post asking people to ‘hustle’ their way in, because that’s what sales is: being resourceful, showing persistence, dealing with rejection. I got an application by singing telegram, a few taped to skateboards from people who knew that I skateboard to work, even one by courier when I was in the middle of a Utah camping trip from someone who figured out where I was from my Instagram and Twitter. That was my way of ascertaining whether candidates had what I was looking for.”
Harley Finkelstein, CPO, Shopify, Ottawa

Read: What Made Shopify Canada’s Smartest Company

Channel your inner high-schooler

“We hired our latest recruit by asking for essays on who the candidates were and why they wanted to work for us. The resulting submissions contained valuable insights into the candidates’ writing skills, thought processes, and communications and marketing skills. What we didn’t get were cookie-cutter resumés.”
—Bill Stevens, via

Build your own LinkedIn

“We were often inundated with e-mails and resumés from unqualified people. So we decided to eliminate job postings and start something called Zappos Insider, a sort of social network. People interested in working for us can create a profile—they can attach a resumé or LinkedIn profile if they like, but they don’t have to—and opt to become an “Insider” for different departments. Our recruiters go in every day and review the profiles that have come in, and assign qualified Insiders to different positions—current or future—they might fit. This creates pipelines of qualified people interested in working for us, which we can easily turn to whenever we need someone in a position. It’s a much more proactive way to hire people. We’re getting a lot fewer candidates, but the quality is much higher.”
—Rockne Henriques, recruiter, Zappos, Las Vegas

Read: 13 Proven Ways to Attract Top Talent

Seek people who aren’t even looking

“Often, great people might not be looking for a new position; they won’t necessarily be looking at job boards. So we launched a campaign this summer where we bought a ton of advertising and set up trucks in core areas in downtown Toronto to give people a taste of what life at Klick is like. We handed out free Starbucks coffee, because we have that in the office. We held Klick hours at local bars, in which we’d buy a drink in exchange for a business card. And our concierge service would bring dinner to anyone working late who tweeted to #KlickConcierge. Our goal was to spark some soul-searching among people who weren’t looking. We tripled our LinkedIn page views in the first week.”
—Leerom Segal, CEO and co-founder, Klick Inc., Toronto

Read: Employee-Engagement Tips from Klick and Other Top Employers

This article is from the PROFIT section of the September 2014 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!

Would you try any of these strategies? What resumé-free (or resumé-light) tactics have you used to identify possible employees? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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